Holidays Ahoy!

Two weeks of sweet Spring freedom are drawing near for the State's schoolchildren. Let Colonial Queenslanders be your guide to recreation and getaway ideas. So, let's make sure we're dressed as formally as possible, and remember to bring your paints and brushes or your new-fangled camera. in and around brisbane A Trip to the Gardens…

The Murder of a Hermit at Sandgate

“An extremely painful sensation pervaded the quiet little community at Sandgate when it became known that Germain Dubrocca, a French recluse of industrious habits and inoffensive disposition, had been done to death in the most violent, brutal, and cowardly manner within a distance of less than three miles of the township. A survey party working…

A Law to Control the Poor

mug shots 1875 - vagrancy Until 2005, Queensland had an antiquated statue on the books called Vagrants, Gaming And Other Offences Act 1931. It was a gloriously haphazard collection of offences, including, but not limited to: Public nuisance,Unlawful parachuting,Indecent postcards,Bottles in stadiums, andProtection of young children in picture theatres. The Act’s purpose was “to make…

The Man Who Invented His Life

In December 1865, a man named James Keane recorded his history in the Register of Admissions to Dunwich Benevolent Asylum.[1] It was certainly impressive: “Arrived in Sydney by the Shamrock from Liverpool A.D. 1845. Employed by Messrs. Stenhouse and Hardy Solicitors, Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Was for a considerable time Editor of the "Moreton Bay Courier"…

Prisoners in Brisbane Gaol, 1875: Family Violence.

Domestic and family violence in the 19th century was tried and punished in a society that took a dim view of wives leaving their husbands, and of children who misbehaved. Divorce was only an option for the well-to-do, and women were seen as the property of their husbands. There were no dedicated laws preventing stalking…

Prisoners in Brisbane Gaol, 1875: Serious Assaults.

The 1875 prison photograph series contains a lot of men who committed serious assaults - near murders in some cases. Looking at the prisoners' photos, it's hard to overlook the number of Chinese men serving time for assaults. The accounts of their court hearings are notable for what they do not disclose - motive. Anything…

Prisoners in Brisbane Gaol,1875: Murder and Manslaughter

The earliest prison photography in Queensland seems to have been the 1875-6 images of inmates of the Brisbane Gaol. The photographs are a haunting record of the offenders and their crimes. The series contains several hundred pictures, and I have endeavoured to discover the stories behind the inmates and their offences. Kelah Charles Pritchard William…

The Convicts from Mauritius

In April 1840, the Colonial Secretary, by command of the Governor, did himself the honour to acquaint the Commandant at Moreton Bay that the schooner John had been engaged by the Commissariat to bring 15 prisoners to work for that department in Brisbane. The men had been transported earlier that year – 13 in the…